Skip to comments.ROMMELíS MINES SLOW BRITISH PURSUIT; JAPANESE FORCES LAND NORTH OF BUNA (12/16/42)
Posted on 12/16/2012 5:11:41 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Red Army threatens wider encirclement
Wednesday, December 16, 1942 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... Soviet begin Operation Saturn, the next phase in the their winter offensive, even though the German drive toward Stalingrad is advancing albeit slowly. The Soviet attack focuses on the Italian 8th Army on the middle of the Don River. The Italian force is almost immediately overrun. There are also Soviet attacks along the Chir River, against Army Detachment Hollidt. The continued attack towards Stalingrad by the Germans is going well, but the concern is now that the Soviet breakthrough will lead to a wider encirclement.
In North Africa... In response to the progress of the New Zealanders to the rear of the Axis forces at El Agheila, in Libya, they split into small groups to withdraw.
In the Solomon Islands... Admiral Tanaka’s supply run is attacked again, US dive bombers sink the destroyer Kagero off Guadalcanal. On land, US troops move on Mount Austen.
In Burma... In the Arakan Valley, the British have assembled two brigades to attack the Japanese between Maungda and Buthidaung. The Japanese withdraw before the attack to a more defensible position between Guedauk and Kondan.
December 16th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: German “hit-and-run” air raids strike 20 towns and villages in southern England.
Submarine ORP Dzik commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
GERMANY: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini realizes that a two front war is unwinnable. He sends Foreign Minister Count Galeazzo Ciano to meet with Adolf Hitler to discuss a possible peace settlement with the Soviet Union. Hitler discounts this proposal and claims that the Axis can win a two front war. (Jack McKillop)
Berlin: Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler orders that everyone of gypsy or mixed gypsy blood be sent to Auschwitz.
U-247 laid down.
U-420, U-669 commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: The Soviet winter offensive now strikes the Italian 8th Army on the Don. Saturn brings immediate results destroying Il Duce’s army. In other places the is offensive falls against Army Detachment Hollidt along the Chir river.
Stalingrad: One of the fiercest tank battle of the war is raging on the Kalmyk Steppe, south-west of Stalingrad, as Hoth’s 4th Panzer Army struggles to break through to the Sixth Army, trapped in the city and now fighting a bloody battle for survival, factory by factory, street by street.
In fighting as cruel as the winter the Germans have pushed the Russian Fifth Shock Army back across the Aksai river and almost to the Myshkova river where the Second Guards Army has formed a defence line stretching south-east from the stubbornly-defended Nizhne Chirskaye to Kapinsky. Hoth has been stopped there, only 25 miles from Stalingrad; his leading tankmen can see the gun-flashes from the perimeter defences. Yet as he struggles to advance Russia has started a new offensive.
Before dawn this morning Zhukov launched Operation SATURN, a stunning blow at the Italian Eighth Army holding the line on von Manstein’s flank north-west of Stalingrad. The Italians have crumbled, and a 60-mile-wide gap has opened in the German defences - and the Russians are pouring through.
FINLAND: Major Max von Hellens, intelligence officer of the 11th Division, and an American informer, is condemned to death for treason. (Mikko Härmeinen)
LIBYA: Rommel’s forces, by breaking into small detachments, are able to withdraw from El Agheila positions after hard fighting with the New Zealand 2d Division, but loses about 20 tanks and some 500 captured. (Jack McKillop)
USAAF Ninth Air Force P-40s fly fighter-bomber missions and sweeps over the battle area while B-25 Mitchells hit troop concentrations and transport targets. (Jack McKillop)
TUNISIA: USAAF Twelfth Air Force Douglas DB-7s bomb the rail junction east of Mateur and hit the town area of Massicault and the nearby vehicle dispersal area; P-38 Lightnings attack ships off the north coast scoring a hit on one vessel; other P-38s fly reconnaissance mission, exchanging ineffective fire with enemy aircraft. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: In the Arakan coastal sector, the Eastern Army of India Command, under Lieutenant General N. M. S. Irwin, opens a limited-objective offensive for Akyab Island, at the end of Mayu Peninsula, which at this time is lightly held by the Japanese. Lacking resources for an amphibious assault, as planned originally, an advance is made overland by the Indian 14th Division, which consists at this time of 4 Indian brigades and is later strengthened by 4 more Indian brigades and one British brigade. The Indian 123d Brigade, leading off, finds Maungdaw free of the enemy and occupies it. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: On the Urbana front, the 2d Battalion of the 128th Infantry renews the attack on the Coconut Grove and clears it by 1200 hours; they also establish a bridgehead across Entrance Creek, where engineers repair a bridge, from which to attack the Triangle. A platoon of Company F, 126th Infantry, called the Schwartz patrol, is ordered to Tarakena, west of Siwori, to protect the left flank. (Jack McKillop)
In the Gona area, the Australian 39th Battalion and 2/14th Company compete their encirclement of the Japanese at the creek mouth west of Gona. Meanwhile, the 36th Battalion of the 14th Brigade and the 2/7th Cavalry Regiment, serving as infantry, arrive at Soputa. (Jack McKillop)
39 Bn AMF and 2/14 Bn AIF had skirmished from Gona towards Haddy’s Village (2 miles to the west) to delay and destroy reinforcements landed by the Japanese some days earlier. Lt Col Ralph Honner’s 39 Bn were moving by an inland route while Lt Col Challen’s 2/14 Bn moved along the coast. These were III/170 Regiment that had landed between the Kumusi and Amboga on the night of 1-2DEC42. Together with stragglers from the Kokoda Track fighting Honner estimated the Japanese to muster about 600 personnel. Having fenced in the Japanese at Haddy’s village between the sea (north), creek (west) and the Australians (south and east), the final actions next day saw 170 Japanese buried in the village area and an estimate of at least the same number (if not more) in the preliminaries....
The cost was a total of 129 casualties (2 officers and 105 OR from the 39 Bn). The 39 Bn was critical to the success of the Kokoda Track and the Gona/Buna battles. (Daniel Ross)
USAAF A-20 Havocs and B-26 Marauders hit forces in the Buna area and at the mouth of the Kumusi River, and strafe barges on the lagoon shoreline south of the Kumusi’s mouth. Meanwhile, B-24 Liberators attack a wreck off Gona, a cargo vessel in the Bismarck Sea, and a destroyer, two cargo ships and two tankers in the Solomon Sea, southeast of Cape Orford. (Jack McKillop)
NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES: Troops of the 2nd Yokosuka SNLF occupy an important oil refinery in the town of Lutong, a few miles north of Miri on the island of Sarawak. (Daniel Ross)
SOLOMON ISLANDS: On Guadalcanal, Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch orders the 132d Infantry, Americal Division, to occupy Mt. Austen, which dominates the island, as a preliminary to a major offensive to be undertaken in January. (Jack McKillop)
On New Georgia Island, USAAF B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy) attack the airstrip at Munda. They are met by 16 Zeke fighter (Mitsubishi A6M, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters); the B-17s claim four Zekes with the loss of one B-17. (Jack McKillop)
IJN Kagero is damaged by the Cactus Airforce during a Tokyo Express run to Guadalcanal.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Harry B. Roby, USNR, performs an appendectomy on Torpedoman First Class W. R. Jones on board USS Grayback. It is the second appendectomy performed on board a submarine. Roby was an “IDC” — an Independent Duty Corpsman, one of the superior sorts of PhMs specially trained to serve in small vessels and with Marine Corps field units, as their combination physician-surgeons, in lieu of not having a commissioned doctor-surgeon. These personnel yet exist in the USN, though no longer called Pharmacist’s Mates and wearing a unique scarlet red cross as their specialist insignia; all in the old-line Hospital Corps are now called Hospital Corpsmen, and wear a white caduseus. (Dave Shirlaw)
CANADA: Frigate USS Natchez commissioned Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Frigate HMCS Port Colborne laid down Esquimalt, British Columbia. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: Submarine USS Hoe commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS JRY Blakely laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
During heavy weather in the North Atlantic a lookout on U-610 broke his arm
U-159 sank SS East Wales.
U-176 sank SS Observer.
U-610 sank SS Bello and damaged SS Regent Lion ON-153.
U-664 sank SS Emile Francqui in Convoy ON-153. (Dave Shirlaw)
Nice to see the Adam Clayton Powell Jr trailblazing the race baiting as early as 1942. He would go on to Congress and do far greater damage there.
Mikey is referring to "Surpless Called Bigot," on pg. 7, column 1.
I remember Powell appearing in the news a lot in my yoot. Don't know if it is accurate, but I think of him as a proto-Charlie Rangel.
Yes, I noticed that too. Of course, FDR and Elanor had his back.
I just want to express my appreciation for your devotion to these daily postings. I don’t comment on them very often, but I do enjoy reading the articles and Churchill’s transcriptions. Thanks again for doing what you do and Merry Christmas!
French Socialist-Communist Pierre Cot warning us that the US is planning too large an Army! He should have been laughed out of the US.
Charlie took his seat after his “troubles” and move to the Carribean.
"Admiral Jean François Darlan, commander-in-chief of the French Navy, served as prime minister in the Vichy government of Marshal Philippe Pétain from 1940 to 1942.
After the reappointment of Pierre Laval as prime minister in April '42, Darlan resumed his position as head of the Navy.
While in French North Africa, he played a dangerous game, urging the French Armed Forces not to resist the Allied invasion while at the same time continuing to represent the Vichy government.
Regarded as a traitor by followers of both Pétain and Charles de Gaulle (the leader of the French government-in-exile), Darlan was assassinated by an opponent of the Vichy government, Olivier Bonnier de la Chapelle, in Algiers on December 24."
"Gerd von Rundstedt was general field marshal and commander-in-chief of the Western Theater from 1942 to 1945.
A veteran of the First World War, Rundstedt was relieved of his duties in 1938, when the leadership of the German Army was reorganized.
He was reactivated during the Polish campaign, took part in operations in Western Europe in 1940, and returned east for the invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941.
Although not a participant in the Generals' Plot to assassinate Hitler, Rundstedt was aware of the conspiracy and urged Field Marshal Erwin Rommel to participate."
"The battle for Stalingrad became the turning point of the war, pitting the heretofore victorious, but overextended, German Army against exhausted Soviet forces (pictured) committed to defending the city at all costs.
The struggle approached a bitter climax in the final days of 1942, as Red Army troops swept toward Stalingrad from the south and west.
Hitler's dream of opening up the Soviet Union for German plunder and expansion was about to be dealt a crushing setback."
Given her reputation, Eleanor may may have had more than his back.